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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  November 6, 2011 10:30am-2:00pm EST

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writers. >> every young writers should remember that publishers are desperate for a good new book to publish and an exciting new author. there should be enormous hope for what has yet to be done. a."onight on c-span's "q & >> next, the continues -- contenders continues. then the drug debt to the committee holds a public hearing with the cochairs of two previous deficit commissions. later, republicans on the house committee vote to subpoena internal white house documents related to the solyndra loan guarantee. at 630 eastern, herman cain and newt gingrich take part in a
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lincoln-douglas style debate. and now, from illinois, the life of adlai stevenson is profiled on "the contenders." >> i accept your nomination. now that you have made your decision, i will fight to win that office with all of my heart and my soul. [applause] with your help, i have no doubt that we will win.
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>> that was our contender this the democratic nomination for president in 1952. we are joined by richard norton of illinois? >> for millions of americans, that is all he was. the one-term governor of illinois. they had never heard a voice like his. political revolution was being for the next decade, adlai stevenson would be the voice of the democratic party, someone who would transform american politics, even though he was for the white house. >> how did he get the nomination in 1952? >> he is the last candidate to be drafted. he is the last candidate to require one more ballot at the convention. he did not want the nomination is the short answer. there was a vacuum in the democratic party. harry truman was retiring. there was no obvious successor. adlai stevenson did a remarkable welcoming address at the chicago bryant. it touched off this draft.
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a couple days later, he was delivering the speech you just heard. >> welcome to libertyville and "the contenders." this is the 9th in our 14 week series. we're looking at the men who ran for president and changed american politics. tonight, our focus is adlai stevenson, 1900 to 1965. we are joined by well-known author and historian richard norton smith. we're live from libertyville, illinois. we are at the stevenson family farm. in just a minute, we'll be joined by newton minow, who worked and knew adlai stevenson. we will be joined by senator adlai stevenson iii, the son of adlai stevenson.
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he is a 10 year senator from the state of illinois. richard norton smith, before we leave the office, there are some things sitting around that we want to learn a little bit more about. first of all, what is this a hand? >> stevenson said that he suffered from a bad case of hereditary politics. there are multiple generations of stevensons in the story. the lincoln connection was a very powerful one. this is a cast of lincoln's hand. part of the famous mast created in 1860. >> also on the desk is an address book. some of the names in this address book include eleanor roosevelt, jackie kennedy, john steinbeck.
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>> he was very unusual, a non- politician in many ways. millions of americans proudly declared themselves stevensonians. >> standing between us is this old office chair. >> this is stevenson's cabinet chair. he was made a member of the cabinet, this is the chair that commemorates that. somewhat difficult relationship that he had with the kennedy administration. >> you referred to the dynasty, the stevenson political dynasty. here on the wall are some artifacts.
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very quickly. >> governor stevenson's grandfather was vice president of the united states. under grover cleveland. he ran again in 1900 under william jennings bryant. this is grandfather stevenson's hat. you can see campaign items from the grover cleveland campaign as well. >> thank you for joining us tonight. live from libertyville, we will work our way over to the barn on the family farm. we are currently in the study. next to it is a barn. this was a working farm at some point. it had animals, horses, sheep, et cetera. we will work our way over there where there is a new display
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about adlai stevenson. first, we want to show you some campaign commercials so you can see some of the video of adlai stevenson. these are from 1956 and 1952. one of them was filmed right here in this study. >> i am sitting right here in my own library. thanks to television, i can talk to millions of people that i could not reach any other way. i am not going to let this spoil me. i am not going to stop traveling in this campaign. i can talk to you, but i cannot listen to you. i cannot hear about your problems, about your hopes and your affairs. to do that, i have to go out and see you in person. that is what i have been doing. for the past several years, i've traveled all over this country. i have been in every state. i have met thousands of you and
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millions of you have seen me. ♪ ♪ >> stevenson! ♪ man i would rather have a with a hole in his shoes than a man with a hole in everything he says i would rather have a man that knows what to do when he gets to be the prez i know the gov will bring the dove of peace and joy ♪ adlai, love you madly what you did for your own great state
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you are going to do for the rest of the 48 ♪ >> old macdonald had a farm back in 31 conditions filled him with alarm back in 31 ♪ to vote for adlai stevenson a vote vote here and a vote vote there
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a vote for stevenson everywhere all america loves that farm ♪ >> if you should allow me to be your president, next november, i should be the better for having done it, i am sure. because i know that the strength and wisdom that i need must be drawn from you and the people. finally, i hope the next time we meet, it will be person to person and face to face. >> i am adlai stevenson. you and i have been hearing from our republican friends that things are so good, they could not be better. do you think that things cannot be better for the small- business man, like this one?
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small business profits are down 52%. that they cannot be better for our farmers? like these? farm income is down 25%. are schools good enough for the richest nation in history? they need a third of a million more classrooms. what about you? are you out of debt? you have a comfortable bankroll in the bank? are you paying less for the things that you buy? or more? do you really think things cannot be better? of course they can. working together, we will make them better. >> vote democratic. >> rising cost of farming. lower farm income. caught in a squeeze. vote democratic, the party for you, not just the few. vote for adlai stevenson.
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>> we are back live at the stevenson farm in libertyville. we are now joined by newton minow. he is the former chairman of the federal communications commission. for our purposes tonight, he has worked with and was an associate of adlai stevenson for many years. newton minow, if you could start by telling us when did you first meet gov. stevenson ? >> i was a law clerk at the supreme court. one of our professors came to visit one day. he later offered my co-clerk a job as his assistant in springfield. it turned out that howard was
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not interested, but i was. i ended up being interviewed by the governor. at 7:00 for breakfast in the spring of 1952. he said to me, if i hire you, young man, it is there any reason why you would not take the job? if my current boss runs for president, and it was rumored that he would be a candidate, if he asked me to stay with them, i would like to do that. the governor looked at me and said, i do not think that is very likely. i then drove him to his next appointment. i went to work at the supreme court. i picked up "the new york times." it said "truman offers stevenson the presidential
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nomination." this was the morning after president truman had asked him to run. i was hired and reported for work. >> what was he known for as governor? >> even as a student, i worked in his campaign in 1948. he was known as being totally honest, which was not necessarily a prerequisite for election in illinois. he was a different kind of candidate. he was honest, and he was an intellectual, he cared deeply about good government. he brought a whole different culture to the office of governor. >> richard norton smith, 1952,
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set the stage for us. >> there was a sense that the democrats had been power for 20 years. even the most partisan democrat thought that perhaps the party and the country would be well served by a change. the great issue was which republican party would replace harry truman if harry truman were to leave? would it be be isolationist conservative midwestern party or would it be the international modern republican of the eisenhower? stevenson had to calculate the chances of which party he might be running against. he was very reluctant to run. >> he did not want to run. he did not want to run against dwight eisenhower.
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it was like running against jesus christ. if it had been robert taft as the opponent, adlai stevenson would have relished running. there would have been a clear difference in philosophy. you have to remember the democrats tried to draft general eisenhower. the democrats tried to get eisenhower to run as a democrat. eisenhower was a candidate of both parties. >> newton minow, when adlai stevenson did the welcoming address at the democratic national convention in chicago in 1952 -- in 1952, was he considered a candidate? >> he was not that well known. i remember the first time he appeared on national television.
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he was on "meet the press." he was never any good on television. he was a lot of fun and a great personality and you always went away feeling better about yourself. when you watched him on television, he was either nervous, but he was never himself. the country did not know him. >> he gets the welcoming address and he gets drafted, went on the second or third ballot. >> that is right. it was really unfortunate because the timing was wrong. if he had run for president against dwight eisenhower, he probably could have won.
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>> who did he pick for a running mate? john sparkman, senator from alabama. he had to worry about keeping the solid south solid. >> exactly. john sparkman was picked at the last minute. >> did they have a relationship? >> not really. >> did he want to be on the 52 ticket? >> he was always interested in running for president. adlai stevenson did not like him. >> he ended up being the vice president in 56. >> harry truman might have liked him even less.
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>> harry truman in 1952 and his relationship with adlai stevenson. >> he is regarded as a great president. the fact is at the time, he was a very unpopular president. the korean war was an unpopular war. he fired douglas macarthur, there is a consensus that he did the right thing for the right reason, but at great political cost. harry truman had been in power seven years. he had decided seven years was enough. he had the power to permit him from becoming the nominee. he probably had the power to make adlai stevenson the nominee.
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with that power went the dead weight of the truman administration. my sense is that truamn and stevenson's relationship never quite recovered. >> there was another factor. there was a lot of corruption in the democratic party. there had been a scandal with one of president truman's assistants. it was not a happy thing to become the nominee in 1952. as i left the supreme court, i went to see the chief justice to say goodbye. he was very close friends with truman. the chief said to me, your guy is not going to make it. i said, what?
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he said, i was with the president last night. he told me that he has lost patience with adlai stevenson. it is going to be barkley. they tried to get it for barkley, but everybody said, he is too old. >> we are live from libertyville, the stevenson family farm, about 40 miles outside of chicago. the phone numbers are on the screen because we want to hear from you as well.
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the results in 1952, by the way, that election was held 59 years ago tonight, november 4, 1952. adlai stevenson won 27 million votes. he got 89 electoral votes and won nine states. dwight eisenhower, 442 electoral votes. he won the 34 million votes. he won the rest of the states, which would have been 41 states. >> one thing to keep in mind is compared with 1948. in losing, stevenson got 3 million more votes than truman had three years earlier. dwight eisenhower got 12 million more votes. you have the largest increase in voter participation since the 1820's. you had two outstanding candidates. each were able to excite the
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electorate. >> here is a little bit more of adlai stevenson at the 1952 convention. >> what does concern me is not just winning this election. but how it is one. how we can take advantage of this great opportunity to debate issues sensibly and soberly. i hope and pray that we democrats will win or lose, can campaign, not as a crusade to exterminate the opposing party, as our opponents seem to prefer, but as a great opportunity to educate and elevate a people whose destiny is leadership. let's tell the american people the truth, there are no gains without pain.
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we are now on the even of great decision. >> newton minow, where were you 59 years ago tonight? >> i was in the governor's mansion. one thing that taught the american people about stevenson was the way he conceded defeat. he gave the most graceful, patriotic talk. he pledged to support president eisenhower. he ended with a story that he remembered from abraham lincoln. it was a story about a little boy who stubbed his toe in the dark. he said, it hurts too much to laugh, but i am not old enough to cry. people saw his character with
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that. he was a patriot who loved his country and was willing to support a new president. >> let's take some calls. the first call is paul in iowa. >> hello. i want to thank c-span for doing this. this is a great series. i have recently finished reading -- he puts forth a very negative view of adlai stevenson campaign for president. he claimed he spent too much time attacking nixon. it was a blemish on a very stellar career.
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do you think that the campaign was a low point of stevenson's political career? did he spend too much time attacking nixon? what could he have focused on to make the election closer? should she have focused on farm issues more? should he have focused on war and peace issues? thank you very much. >> let's start with newton minow. 1956 campaign. >> 1956 campaign, in my opinion, was not as stellar as it was the 1952 campaign. the reason for the emphasis on nixon in 1956 was the fact that president eisenhower had suffered a bad heart attack and had some bad health problems. there was great concern in the country of what would happen if president eisenhower was
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reelected and he died during the second term and nixon became president. there was a good reason to go after nixon because nixon did not have the character to be president. >> i think the 1956 campaign, from a historical standpoint, it is the campaign that laid the groundwork for the new frontier. that is the campaign when adlai stevenson embraced the idea of a nuclear test ban treaty. that is the campaign when he endorsed a constitutional amendment so 18-year-olds could vote. in terms of foreshadowing policy to come, 1956 turns out to be a fountainhead of ideas. you are right, the last speech
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on election eve where he said the medical evidence suggested a real possibility that richard nixon would become president. that is something that tom dewey had not done in 1944 under somewhat similar circumstances. you did not go there. in some ways, he paid a price for that. >> you are right. the nuclear test ban, which >> you are right. the nuclear test ban, which was a very unpopular point of view to take in 1956, he took it very courageously because he believed in it deeply. someone asked what the weapons would be in world war iv, and he said there would be sticks and stones.
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>> between 1952 and 1956, was adlai stevenson going to get the nomination again? >> i would have to answer that with a yes and no. he hoped that he might someday be president, but he also knew that if he ran against president eisenhower again, the odds were very much against him. i was one of the few people around him that urged him not to run in 1956. he felt an obligation to the democratic party. >> here is a little bit of adlai stevenson at the 1956 convention. >> i come here on a solemn mission. i accept your nomination and your program. [applause]
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i pledge to every resource of mind and strength that i possess to make a good win for our country and our party. four years ago, i stood in this same place and uttered those same words to you. four years ago, i did not seek the honor that you bestowed upon me. this time, as he may have noticed, it was not entirely unsolicited. [laughter] [applause] there is another big difference. that time, we lost.
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this time, we will win. [applause] >> newton minow, you started laughing what you listen to that video. >> when he said it was unsolicited, it reminded me. in 1955, stevenson gave a speech at the university of texas and i was asked to go with them. it was right after president eisenhower had suffered his heart attack. lyndon johnson, the majority leader of the senate, had also suffered a heart attack. we were to spend the night at lyndon's ranch. we got there late. mrs. johnson was very upset because the doctor told her that lyndon johnson should be sleeping. and he was up until 2:00 in the
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morning. on the way home, just the two of us for traveling. adlai stevenson said to me, if i want the nomination next year, i will have to run in the primaries. i said, they are right. if president eisenhower does not run, every democrat is going to want the nomination and you'll have to fight for it. if president eisenhower does run, you ought to forget about it. he said, i am not going to run in those primaries. i am not going to be a candidate like i am running for sheriff. i am not going to do it. of course, he ended up doing it because that is the way the system operated. >> joe in los angeles, we are talking about adlai stevenson. go ahead with your comments.
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>> i want to jump ahead to the 1960's. what you thought his relationship with the kennedys was. i know he was nominated in that convention and because of that, there were still feelings with jack kennedy. what would have happened if he had been made secretary of state? would the situation in vietnam have been different? >> let's start with richard norton smith. >> that is a very wide subject. it is certainly true that it was not a warm relationship between the kennedys and governor stevenson. in 1956, he had done something no one else had done. he had thrown at the nomination for the vice presidency open.
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he left the convention decide. jack kennedy came within eyebrow of winning the nomination. it introduced him to the country, paved the way for his campaign in 1960. one of the distinguished visitors that came to this house was jack kennedy. he very much wanted adlai stevenson's endorsement, who did not give it. he did not go away with his admiration of the governor enhanced. if he was ever going to be
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secretary of state, i think that possibility went down the drain right then. >> we will talk a little bit later about the kennedy relationship and his years as u.n. ambassador. the results in 1956, adlai stevenson won 73 electoral votes. he got 26 million votes, about 1 million less than he got four years earlier. dwight eisenhower, 457 electoral votes. he won 41 states. it was the last election were there were only 48 states in the nation. dwight eisenhower won about 35 million votes. our next call, akron, ohio. >> thank you. this is a great honor to be watching this type of program.
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i have a comment and a question. richard norton smith stole my thunder about the 1956 convention and jack kennedy. one of my favorite comments was something that harry truman said about adlai stevenson, that he spent more time thinking about what he was going to do rather than doing it. he spent a lot more time talking to college presidents than he did to cabdrivers. anyway, 1956, richard norton smith made a comment to adlai stevenson doing something unprecedented in, opening the convention to picking a vice presidential nominee. very few people really know there were two other candidates in contention for that position. hubert humphrey and al gore, sr. seeing as how jack kennedy was
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out of it, would that ticket have been a little bit better had it have been al gore, sr. or hubert humphrey? also, i guess what i was going to say -- >> let's leave it there. that is a lot of questions. >> certainly, kefauver did not help. i think what richardson about kennedy was exactly correct.
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the opportunity to be at the convention and to be seen as a vice presidential possibility introduced jack kennedy to the country. i remember a few years later, i saw him at a dinner and i said, jack, if you are so interested, you can get be nomination for vice president next time. he said, vice-president? i am going to run for president. he was only 39 years old. >> the caller raises a point that i am sure that governor stevenson heard many times during his lifetime. the notion that he talked over the heads of people. what was his reaction to that? >> i think he did not talk over the heads of the people. they used to call him an egghead.
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he is to make fun of that. eggheads of the world unite. you have nothing to lose but your yolks. i think he reached people. he had a great sense of humor. one time he gave a speech in san francisco. a woman came of to him after the speech and said governor, after that speech, every thinking american is going to vote for you. and he said, thank you, madame. unfortunately, i need a majority. he knew what the situation was. >> next call comes from tennessee. >> thank you. it is a great show. my father was an academic and i grew up in washington, d.c. i remember my father talking about how great adlai stevenson was. the reason i am calling was that i was struck by the 1952 electoral map. it seems like the sparkman strategy won.
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he did not get tennessee and he did not get his own state, illinois. >> he had been elected governor of illinois by the largest margin in the history of the state. they elected this new deal liberal democrat and it was not surprising that he counted on winning it in 1952. >> if he had run for governor in 1952, even with president eisenhower's running on the republican -- he would have won the governorship again by a larger margin.
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>> newton minow, today, we talk about taxes, spending, social security. those are some of the issues we look at during the campaign. in 1952, in 1956, what were the main issues that were talked about? >> 1952, the big issue was korea. we were bogged down in a war there. president eisenhower says, i will go to korea. the country thought he would end the war in korea. the other big issues were the same issues we have today. we have the same issues that divided the country back in the 1950's.
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education, the economy was better than than it is now. there was less unemployment. this country is equally divided. if you look at the last 10 presidential elections, with the single exception of johnson and goldwater in 1964, they have all been decided by a few points. the country is equally divided. >> in 1956, here is a little bit of adlai stevenson talking about the democratic platform. >> to the threshold of a new america.
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a new america of great ideals and noble vision. i mean a new america where poverty is abolished and our abundance is used to enrich the lives of every family. [applause] i mean a new america where freedom is made real for all, without regard to race or belief or economic conditions. [applause] these are the things i believe then. these are the things i will work for.
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>> we are live in libertyville at the adlai stevenson farm. boston, you are on the air. >> i was very young and during the era of president kennedy and adlai stevenson. i want to share an emotional think i will probably take to my grave. in 1960, a couple of weeks before his assassination, adlai stevenson went to texas, where they threw oranges at him from the balcony.
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he called president kennedy and told him not to come to texas. at least get a bulletproof car, which he did not do. on the other side of the question, i believe president kennedy and his brother had a little bit too much ego. if adlai stevenson knew that, there would have been more listening. >> we will get an answer from both our guests. they both started nodding their heads. >> i think it was a united nations event in dallas. afterwards, he was struck by some protesters.
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i think he was spat upon. a classic rejoinder -- i do not want to prosecute them, i want to educate them. >> he was very aware of the dangers, but i would not go as far as the questioner did. he made that commitment and wanted to keep it. talking about the relationship of adlai stevenson and president kennedy. during the 1960 campaign, norman vincent peale had organized a group of other clergymen and they said that jack kennedy was unqualified to be president because of his religion. adlai stevenson was asked about it. he compared it to st. paul.
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he said, i find st. paul appealing and norman vincent peale appalling. he could always work in a joke. politics today has no humor. with the exception of bob dole, i do not see any politician today, either party, who has a great sense of humor. >> do you think it worked against stevenson? he always had these wonderful quips. >> abraham lincoln went around telling stories all the time. i do not think it hurt him. i think people like to have someone who has a sense of humor. >> next call, poughkeepsie, new york. nick, good evening.
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>> hi. i would like to know when stevenson was a child, was there an incident where he accidentally shot his friend? how did that influence his presidential campaign? >> did he ever talk about that? could you give us a brief history of what the coller is referring to? >> there was a tragic accident in childhood when there was a loose gun in the family and adlai stevenson accidentally shot and killed another child. i never heard him say anything about it. i never saw any evidence that it affected him. who knows? >> he was 12 years old at the time.
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one did get the sense that the family moved on. it was not something that they dwelled on. years later, he expressed astonishment that his wife knew about the incident. it would suggest that he really kept it very close to his vest. >> who was his wife? >> his wife was a woman who came from a very fine upperclass family. she was not very interested in politics. she disliked politics. when adlai stevenson went into politics, i do not think she was very happy about it. they came to a parting of ways. >> that was in 1949. >> he had been elected before the divorce. >> did the divorce hurt him during the 1952 and 1956 presidential campaigns? >> president reagan was divorced. today we have public officials
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living without marriage with someone else. there has been a vast cultural change. >> one more instance of stevenson being ahead of his time. >> could be. >> we are live from libertyville. theodore is on the line. go ahead with your question or comment. >> i appreciate the program very much. i am a senior in a nearby senior retirement community. participating in a memoir group. we have been asked to write what good things from the 1950's should be carried into the 21st century.
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i happen to be present at the 1952 election where he voted in vernon township. it was next to a congregational church. my question is, what significance do you place to that icon of the hole in his shoe? how would you summarize what could be carried into the 21st century? >> let's start with richard norton smith. >> stevenson was a man who flattered our intelligence. he spoke up to us. he did not speak down to us. he is arguably the last national politician. he believed that a presidential
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campaign was first and foremost an educational exercise. >> what do you mean by that? >> he was forever running out of time. they would cut him off in the middle of the speech. he could not believe that people would not take sufficient amount of time to educate themselves, to listen to a thoughtful, sober, substantive issue- oriented appeals from candidate on both sides. that is how he approached running for office. that is how he approached governing illinois. i have heard him say more than once that a campaign was an educational exercise, not only for the public, but also for the candidate. an opportunity for the candidate to educate himself or herself about the country. i also heard him say, there are
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worse things that can happen to someone then losing an election. >> what is a stevensonian? >> an egghead. wit, self deprecatory, someone who has been very little patience with the political claptrap that spin doctors have foisted upon us. i cannot imagine adlai stevenson being handled by any such individual. >> it would never happen. i was much a member of an american delegation to a
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conference in japan and in our delegation was don rumsfeld. we were having dinner and i said, why did you go into politics? he said, it was all because of a speech given to my graduating class at princeton. were you in the class of 1954? he looked at me and said, how did you know that? i said, i know the speech. it is the best speech adlai stevenson ever gave in his life. it was a speech about why everyone should devote some of their life to public service. he read me a paragraph verbatim of the speech. he pulled out his wallet and pulled out a torn copy of the speech. i said, that is why you went into politics? he said, that is why i went into
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politics. if you read his new book, he starts off by quoting from that speech. his biggest contribution was making politics respectable and honorable. jack kennedy used to say politics is an honorable profession. i think he got that from adlai stevenson. >> adlai and ellen stevenson had three sons. adlai stevenson iii was a marine in 1952. >> he takes time out from his campaign to attend the graduation of his son from the marine officer candidate school in quantico, virginia. it is a proud father and an equally proud son on an occasion important to both. >> live on your screen is senator adlai stevenson iii, he
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is in his father's study on the family farm. senator stevenson, thank you for opening up this facility for us. what was your role in the 1952 and 1956 campaign? >> in the 1952 campaign, i was in the marine corps. i did not have a role in that campaign. they were involved in the 1956 campaign. >> what role did korea play in your father's campaign?
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>> korea became an issue though it was not an issue, but adversely affected my father's campaign. he was advised to say if elected president, i will go to korea. that is exactly what general eisenhower said. my father refused to do that because he felt that if he made that commitment to go there and arrange a truce -- the eisenhower administration was weakened by this commitment of eisenhower to end the war. my involvement did not have any effect at all. >> he served in the u.s. senate from 1970 until 1981 for the state of illinois. he voluntarily stepped down in 1980, ran for governor twice
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for this state. what made you enter the family business? >> i was born with a hereditary case of politics. if by business, you mean my career. we did not think of it as a business. i am paraphrasing my father. >> of course, the first adlai stevenson served as vice president and secretary of state for illinois. and now we are joined by senator stevenson. he is in his father's study in libertyville. we are in what used to be the barn and it is right next door. it is now set up with an exhibit.
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what is going on here? >> this home, which really became our base over the years, is now the home of the adlai stevenson center for democracy. we try to bring people together from all parts of the world to address the systemic weaknesses in democratic systems of government and continue the stevenson legacy. this was the home, but it really became the base from which we study the world. >> i would like to amplify. i think they have done a very perceptive of jobs.
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getting back to 1952. he was also reluctant to run for president because he had been elected governor of a state which we loved and are deeply indebted to. it succeeded a corrupt republican administration. he reached out and he recruited the best qualified professionals that he could find. it was not pay to play in those days.
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i went door to door and did what effort i could. i was crushed that he did not win. i thought he would contribute more on the world stage as a
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state men. anyway, he did. i will never forget how disappointed we were. one other thing, at being from chicago, i worked at the tribune tower when the dewy-truman election results. you never saw such panic in your life as was in the chicago tribune. i will let you go and get your response of air. thank you. >> i think we could talk to sally all night. if we could start with you. you heard the emotion and her voice. could you talk about his campaign. >> getting back to 1952. he was also reluctant to run for
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president. he had been elected governor of the state which we loved and more deeply indebted to pureed and succeeded a corrupt republican administration. he reached out and he recruited the best qualified professionals that he could find. they were reforming state government. he wanted to finish the job. he was also reluctant because eisenhower would be very hard to defeat. i think, secretly, he was not convinced that it was time for a change. remember, he started that 1952 campaign. he started that campaign at the
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convention with absolutely no program, no money, no staff. it went on to electrified the world. for him, and i may be repeating, for hem democracy was not a system before acquiring power. it was a system for informing the people so that they could make a sound judgment. trust the people with the truth. what wins is more important than who wins. in response to another -- the 1960 -- the 1956 campaign was more substantive. he had more time than the 1952 campaign. he is the campaigns and the end from as the leader of the party. he laid the programmatic foundations for the new
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frontier and the great society. in fact, i heard arthur schlesinger, the famous historian who was close to jack kennedy -- we always called jack "jack" -- john f. kennedy, the executor of the stevenson resolution. those campaigns were aimed not only at the american people. they were substantive. he used half hour blocks of time for eloquent, substantive speeches. >> you talk about the 1952 and 1956 campaigns. your father lost books between those and a couple more states. what did he not do as well in 1956? did he make mistakes? >> eisenhower is enormously popular.
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these were years of economic prosperity and growth. eisenhower was popular. the war ended and -- that would come later in korea. what happened -- one of the things that happened, eisenhower would have never gotten reelected anyway. with the uprising in hungary and the invasion of suez by france, britain, and israel, these international crises that rallied the country as they always do behind the president. from then on, they're just really was not much doubt about the outcome. >> richard norton smith. >> i just want to go back to the 1952 campaign.
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it is accurate that he started out with nothing. in fact, there was a debate over where to have the political headquarters. harry truman expected it to be in washington. it was in springfield. the story was told, you can tell me if it is true or not, he did not expect it to be publicized which is revealing. one night to very shortly after the convention, he came back to springfield. conscious of the crushing responsibilities, he left the executive mansion one night by himself without guard and walked to jackson and eighth street, knocked on the door. the custodian recognized him. it was not then a national historic site. he let him in. he sat by himself in the lincoln parlor for some period reflecting. meditating on a man who had
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confronted him with greater responsibilities a few years earlier. the interesting thing about that story is not only that it happened but that adlai stevenson did not publicize it. he did not expect anyone to know about that story. is that accurate? >> none of us knew about it until years later. i read this and said is it true? he did not talk about it. >> you have to understand. this story -- it goes back to five generations. i tried it to record it. american politics and history as we knew at -- he was lincoln's patron. lincoln was a constant presence in this family. lincoln was an inspiration. woodrow wilson, former president of princeton. my father was a graduate of princeton. wilson was an influence also.
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the enlightened internationalism of wilson heavily influenced my father. lincoln, who might never have been president without the lincoln douglas debates, lincoln was an inspiration and a presence in this family. >> our next call for our guest talking about adlai stevenson comes from oak island, north carolina. jimmy, please go ahead. >> thank you for taking my call. i am a world war ii veteran who was part of the eisenhower army.
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i did not feel like at the time -- i was from north carolina at which you could see it was one of the blue states for adlai stevenson both times. we felt that adlai stevenson was a politician and more able to handle the political things. eisenhower was more of a military person. even though times were good, i was wondering what do you think -- how would the united states had changed in that eight years if adlai stevenson had been president rather than dwight eisenhower? >> senator stevenson. let's start with you. >> dwight eisenhower has been quoted and recently by a member of his family as saying that if
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he had known adlai stevenson was to be the democratic candidate, he would not have run for president. i think on the large international issues, there was probably not a good deal of difference between them. one thing my father really felt strongly about richard nixon, he was loathed just about by everybody in washington. his strength was at the grass roots. after that incident and the checkers speech and eisenhower's retention of richard nixon on the ticket, i think that caused some doubts in his mind about eisenhower. he respected eisenhower. my father was such a figure in the world that john foster dulles reluctantly made him an ambassador of the eisenhower administration so that in his travels throughout the world he could efficiently represent the united states. a difference between the democrats and eisenhower wing of
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the party were the republican party or the taft wing. if my father had been president, you probably would have had the new frontier and the great society accelerated. medicare, federal aid to education, other social programs might have taken effect earlier. as it was, much of it did not take affect until after the assassination of kennedy when johnson shrewdly -- i remember consulting my father. what is your advice? my father was taken back. he was very flattered. he said, i guess you should take some time now to put your program and administration together.
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he said, this is my moment. within 100 days, the program was through congress. he knew timing. he was a real politician. that program had been developing since the 1952 campaign. it might have been accelerated a little had my father won in 1952 or 1956. >> i think he has it exactly right, but i would add one thing. because adlai stevenson was so committed to getting rid of nuclear war, i think we might have had faster progress than actually occurred later in dealing with the russians and dealing with nuclear disarmament. i think that was such a passionate belief that i think he would have given much more attention and persuasion to it than occurred.
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i think also we would have had more friends throughout the world then we ended up with at that time. >> it is interesting. it is hard to imagine -- that is what we are doing. we are imagining. it is hard to imagine president stevenson sending that u-2 plane on the eve of the great summit. one more thing. i do think they had respect for each other. i think they also learned to discover the weaknesses of one another. i suspect eisenhower over time grew rather resentful of the implication that stevenson was the only wordsmith -- the only great eloquent persuader in american politics. he once said that if words are
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all that matter, the american people could vote for ernest hemingway for president. i think that was a criticism of stevenson. >> next call for our three guest calls from portland, oregon. >> thank you for taking my call. in 1962, i was a high school kid living in a republican house will. but in the 1956 i had spent the time as an intern and was fixed forever. i remember there was a disappointment at the convention because there was not a contest that there had been in 1952. i was wondering if you could elaborate on how the decision was made to throw it open to the convention whether it was for everybody to have a good time or whether it was at least in part to be able to dodge the animosity of all of the candidates who did not get it. >> if you could start and then senator stevenson, we want to hear about your role.
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>> i think adlai stevenson felt he had seen it firsthand how the vice president was picked in 1952. it was so casually done. he realized it needed much more attention. he was also under a lot of pressure. he was fond of the hubert humphrey. he did not like keith laufer even though he had been in the primaries. he thought jack kennedy was very promising but very young and too inexperienced. he decided it would give a lot of excitement to the convention which had been pretty much pre arranged as to his own nomination. he decided to open it up.
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i think it turned out to be as he predicted. it turned out to be an exciting contest. it introduced jack kennedy to the country. there were a lot of big things for it. >> the outcome of the presidential balloting was a foregone conclusion. to create some excitement, he decided to throw open the balloting for vice president. quietly, we were all rooting for john f. kennedy. my father adored hubert humphrey. i remember at the state house and the convention when the balloting was seesawing for vice president and kennedy was running downstairs to kennedy's suites where sergeant shriver's brother-in-law was guarding the door, running in jack kennedy was pulling up his trousers. he shook his hand and congratulated him.
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by the time i got back up to my father's suite, i saw him lose. all of us were rooting to jack kennedy. this brought kennedy to the nation's attention. it also despaired him being involved in the failed campaign for president and vice- president. >> let's move four years ahead it to the 1960 democratic convention in los angeles. senator stevens, how would you describe the relationship between your father and jack kennedy in 1960? >> i think the relationship between my father and jack kennedy was close. i know my father respected kennedy. i believe it was mutual. there was a circle or very protective circle around john f. kennedy, which is always fearful and resentful. in this case, concern that stevenson was a threat.
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people were pouring in from across the country. by the tens of thousands. they were literally hammering on the doors on the convention to demand another nomination for their candidates. eleanor roosevelt was there. mccarthy gave a brilliant nominating address for stevenson. this caused a little anxiety in the kennedy camp. it probably caused a little interest on my father's part that maybe if things deadlocked he could still win the nomination. he had felt that as a leader of the party and out of loyalty to eleanor roosevelt -- loyalty should be neutral. the former secretary of labor who was also involved in state administration told me he was in my father's suite on the eve of the balloting.
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my father said when bobby kennedy calls, tell him i have gone to bed and i have left instructions not to be woken. sure enough bobby kennedy calls. he said i have to talk to the governor. you just tell him, this is his last chance. he better talk to me or he won't be secretary of state. he responded, i am sorry, but he has instructed me to tell you that he has gone to bed. that was the end of any chances for secretary of state. it signifies something about the relationship not with jack kennedy but the very protective circle around jack kennedy.
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that would come back to create other problems like during the cuban missile crisis when my father was vilified. >> we are to get to that in just a minute. we are born to play two minutes of video here. we will start at the 1960 convention. adlai stevenson at the podium. here it is. >> i wanted to tell you how grateful i am for this tumultuous and moving welcome to the 1962 democratic convention. [applause] i have an observation. after getting in and out of the hotel and at this hall, i
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decided i know who you will nominate. it will be the last survivor. [applause] >> the details of my participation have not been worked out, but i would drive the campaign where he wanted me to. i suspect that will be in the west and the east and everywhere in between. i hope so. >> what would you do about it? how would you go about it? >> i hope by the participation in the campaign i have not had much doubt that they would support the ticket. i hope they will support it vigorously in the same manner that i did. >> i hope it will fall you as vigorously as you did in los angeles. >> i hope it will fall you as vigorously as they follow me at los angeles. >> we saw a little bit from the convention. and we saw a press conference after jfk got the nomination.
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>> i have the most extraordinary experience i had involving both adlai stevenson and jack kennedy was on may 29, 1960. it was jack kennedy's birthday. it was the day after the last primary in oregon. jack kennedy was flying from oregon to a family birthday party. bill blair, our law partner, had suggested that he stopped in chicago. bill and i would pick him up and drive him here to the farm. he would have lunch with adlai stevenson. we were hoping -- bill and i had both concluded it was adlai stevenson impossible adlai to be nominated again. we were hoping it would come to some terms and adlai stevenson would support kennedy. we got in the car and drove out there. bill was driving, jack was in the front seat, i was in the
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back seat. jack kennedy said, the you think i should talk to him about secretary of state? bill was smarter than i was, he did not say anything. i cannot stand the silence. i said, i would not do that if i were you. he looked at me and said, why? i said, adlai stevenson will be offended. second, you should decide yourself you want if you are elected. came out here and adlai and nancy were here. they manage to get the two of them alone in the study. the minute they came out i could see it had not gone well. we were getting back in the car to go back.
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i was dying of curiosity. i said, jack, did you say something about secretary of state? he looked at me with those eyes and said, you told me not to. i thought, what have i done? as soon as i got home i called him and i told him the entire thing from beginning to end. he said you did the right thing. i would have been very offended. besides, he should decide who he wants. then i decided i'd better try the kennedys. i called and they said jack had not arrived yet. i told bob exactly what i told adlai stevenson. i felt i had a clean conscience and had not screwed it up. >> can i ask you a question. we saw that clip with the rather lame joke that stevenson said from the podium at a moment of maximum suspense. it was written that it was almost stevenson's moment and he
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threw it away. he was in a position with the right to remarks to have taken the convention a way. is that unrealistic? was that convention jack kennedy's no matter what happened? can you see a scenario in which stevenson at the peak of his form might have set something on fire. >> i think he knew it was not going to happen. they told him the illinois delegates were going to vote for kennedy. i think he knew at that point. we will see what adlai says if he agrees with me. i have always thought that's mccarthy's speech was insincere.
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i thought he was working for lyndon johnson because he had never been that close to governor stevenson. i had just finished reading jackie kennedy's tapes, and she said jack kennedy said the same thing. there were two people who thought that mccarthy was making that -- >> i don't think that what to attribute that motive to mccarthy. the gossip i hate to repeat at the time was that he was jealous of jack was because it was that catholic instead of this catholic getting the nomination. i think that is unworthy of mccarthy. number one, my father would have resented it. i don't think there was a chance of the convention of him winning the nomination. he had encouraged everybody to go out and support candidates of their choice including richard j. daley of illinois. the illinois delegation was pledged to john f. kennedy.
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you make a pledge, you don't break it. the nomination was sewed up. there was a lot of tension. there was a lot of dynamism in the works. after the convention, my father campaigned strenuously. he campaigned all over the country for john f. kennedy. bobby kennedy's first stop on the campaign trail was right here at the home where we had a great rally on the lawn for bobby kennedy. >> now, he referred it to jackie kennedy's new book put out called historic conversations on life with jfk. there were some audiotapes attached to this. she talked shortly after the assassination. they were just released. here is jackie kennedy talking
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about adlai stevenson and jfk. >> telling you he had to have the un. i could remember jack telling me about that. >> did that give him a lot of difficulty? >> it was unpleasant. he did not like it. he was not going to give him the state department. at the earliest times we spoke of it, you new governor stevenson would get the un -- not state, which he wanted. it is unpleasant to tell somebody that. i remember their conference on the doorstep was rather vague. stevens said he did not have anything to say or something funny. >> why do you think he decided not to have stevenson for state? >> it was not just bitterness.
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stevenson never listed one finger to help. look at all the people jack took who had been a against him and for someone else. they knew he felt that man had a real disease of being done able to make up his mind. stevenson irritated him. i don't think he could have him coming in every day and complaining about something as secretary of state. it would have been a difficult relationship. >> senator stevenson -- can we get your reaction? >> unfortunately, i really could not hear it. i knew jackie kennedy. i can tell you that i don't think she was political at all. in fact, she was a very artistic woman. she was an intellectual who used to leave washington on weekends which were sometimes spent at bobby's, playing football. she was not athletic. she would go to new york to go to the theater with my father.
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from what i could see they had a very good relationship. he gave her and escapes from washington. i have heard about these comments -- not just these, but all of her comments that are critical just about of anybody. -- everybody. i do not know what kind of credibility to place on that. from what i could see, her relationship with my father was very good. in some ways, they were closer than some of the kennedys. >> could you hear the audio tape and jackie kennedy? >> i was with adlai stevenson and jackie sometimes. i think they had a very good relationship. >> what about jfk and adlai stevenson >> i had a very important
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experience about that. i had a very minor role in the cuban missile crisis. i was involved a little bit. when it was over, there was an article in the saturday evening post written by charlie bartlett and stewart alsop. in it there were some critical comments not attributed to any single person a bout what adlai stevenson had proposed which is actually what the united states did. we had closed our missile headquarters in turkey and greece in exchange for a bargain that was reached by cuba. it was critical and i knew that adlai stevenson was upset about it. early one day the president
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called me at home. he said, will you tell your leader that i did not leak that story. there is a rumor around that i am the one who leaked it. tell him i did not leak it. i called the governor and i had his number. i got him on the phone in five seconds. he picked up the phone. he said i cannot talk to you now. i am on my way to "the today show" to be interviewed. i said give me one second. the president just called me and told me to tell you he did not leak that story. the governor did not say anything. 50 minutes later i turn on the show and he gave jfk holy hell about the episode and got it off his chest. later jfk wrote him a letter
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apologizing saying he did not do it but he made it clear that what adlai stevenson contributed to the cuban missile crisis solution was indispensable. >> we have about 25 minutes left and our callers have been patient. damascus, maryland. bill, thank you for calling. please go ahead. >> can you elaborate on the influence of richard j. daley, the mayor of chicago. the influence he had on stevenson's rise in illinois politics. >> senator stevenson, can we start with you? >> it is the other way around. my father got richard j. daley started in politics. as i mentioned earlier, my father recruited these extraordinary professionals. they came without the
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endorsements of political leaders and campaign contributors. there was one partial exception and that was richard j. daley who had been a state senator. he may be did have the endorsement of the cook county chairman. he served with great distinction and my father's cabinet as director of the department of revenue. he really was a pretty straight cabinet officer. later my father supported richard j. daley when he contested for mayor of chicago against an incumbent mayor of that city. this is incredible. the governor of the state siding with a challenger to be incumbent governor. my father had a lot to do with the rise of richard j. daley. it was not the other way around at all. >> washington, d.c., go ahead,
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dave. we are talking about adlai stevenson here on "the contenders." >> hello. i just want to tell a story -- >> hi, congressman. how are you? >> does everyone know former congressman dave obey? >> i just want to tell a story about adlai stevenson in the 1960 campaign. i was a student at the university of wisconsin. adlai stevenson had come to madison to give a speech about the civil war roundtable. afterward he was scheduled to appear with the governor at the old park hotel. we had a large crop of democrats gather. they were over one hour late and the crowd was very restive. finally, adlai stevenson was ushered up to the front of the room. he said, sorry we were so late. there were a lot of questions that the civil war roundtable. i have to get the governor over to the mansion and get him to
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bed. he has a long day tomorrow. i will give one of my typically short speeches. adlai stevenson butted in and said, i will give one of my typically long ones. he said, you do it and i will leave without you. adlai stevenson said go ahead, see who the crowd follows. the crowd erupted in laughter. i think adlai stevenson -- it shows adlai stevenson was on his feet and how clever he could be in making the audience feel good about it. he was my hero. >> a lot of talk this evening about the fact that adlai stevenson was the architect of the later great society. would you agree with that? >> i think he certainly defined in the 1956 campaign what most of the issues later became of what to the democratic party ran on and stood on for years. he set the agenda for the coming decade in that campaign.
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>> that was congressman dave obey. we did not know he was going to call. a longtime congressman from wisconsin. thank you for calling. richard, hello. richard? >> thank you for letting me call. i am the author of a book about eleanor roosevelt and adlai stevenson published just last year. i would like to relay one of the anecdotes from the campaign trail. it was a favorite of the campaign team. this is about a gentleman who came to him and said, "mr. stevenson, your speech was absolutely superfluous." to which he replied, "i was thinking about having it published posthumously."
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he said, "the sooner the better." [laughter] >> you are in your dad's office over there. there are a set of books of his speeches. they were best sellers, correct? >> yes. incidently, my own book is here. a black book which i tried to record a american politics as we knew it over those five generations including the humor which enriched our politics and could be used to very good effect. you could use it to denigrate an opponent without being mean spirited. the memories and the experience i try to record over these five generation starting with lincoln and ending in china and an epilogue on the life cycle of nations and empires is aimed to recall what we are doing
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tonight, the values that created this country and contrast them with those that are undermining it today. >> we talk a little bit about this. richard norton smith, i want to get your reaction. the cuban missile crisis, adlai stevenson was u.s. ambassador to the united nations. >> it did not happen in a vacuum. one year earlier, talk about the strained relationship with the white house. the kennedy administration had put this ambassador in a bad position. one year later, one year and a half later in the fall of 1962, you have a situation in which we have irrefutable evidence that the soviets are in fact installing offensive nuclear missiles on castro's cuba. what transpires is a great paradox.
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i cannot think of a less sound bite political figure it then adlai stevenson. if you go on youtube to that he is immortalized by one of the great sound bites of the 20th century. >> we will listen to it right now. >> let me ask you one simple question. do you deny that the u.s.s.r. has placed and is placing medium and intermediate range sites and missiles in cuba? yes or no. don't wait for the translation, yes or no? [laughter] >> mr. stevenson, will you continue your statement please. you will receive the answer in due course, do not worry. [laughter]
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>> i am prepared to wait for your answer until hell freezes over if that is your decision. >> richard norton smith. >> one of the great sound bites of the 20th century. afterwards, one of the kennedys -- maybe it was the president or bobby -- he was allegedly to have said, i did not know he had it in him. >> that is true. >> you mentioned the bay of pigs earlier. he was fed a great deal of misinformation which he relayed to the security council. it came out this information was false. he felt very embarrassed. it was the kennedy administration that was embarrassed. nobody doubted my father's integrity. the bay of pigs proposal by the kennedy administration was
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exactly what my father had proposed, mainly trading off obsolete bases in turkey for withdrawal of the missiles. the kennedy administration insisted on keeping the deal secret. my father did not want it to be secret because he did not want to embarrass khrushchev. he wanted to give them an opportunity to retreat. that did not happen. khrushchev was embarrassed just as my father feared. he fell. he was succeeded by a group from which he emerged brezhnev and the hard-liners and the cold war escalated. the kennedy administration had to be tough instead of compromising and giving khrushchev an easy way out. >> one of the goals of "the contenders" is to figure out how they changed their parties and american politics. after we take this call we will move into the topic area. roots town, ohioplease go ahead.
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>> thank you for having me i was just curious as to whether or not you have heard of an organization -- if adlai stevenson had ever attended the conference before? the bilderburg conference. >> thank you for your call. go ahead. >> this adlai stevenson has gone to a conference. -- a bilderburg conference. i don't know about my father. i don't know how far that goes. i don't know what the implications are. conferences were occasional meetings of very senior meetings at which they got together to discuss problems facing the world. there was nothing sinister about them. this adlai stevenson has been to a couple. i don't know if my father has or if they even existed. in his time. >> we are here in the stevenson barn.
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center stevenson is over in his father's study. there is a new exhibit about adlai stevenson. there is a photo that we looked at before this started. this was in 1945 of the un formation. you remember that photo around the table. >> i do. i don't have it in front of me so i am not sure. you have john foster dulles, you have governor stevenson, nelson rockefeller. you have the secretary of state who was about to be fired. >> was adlai stevenson's role in the founding of the un? >> do you want to take that?
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it had to do with proprietary concepts. >> he was also a delegate to the conference in san francisco. the united nations was adopted or approved. but by 1945, we were living in london where he was the u.s. delegate to the commission which laid the foundation and actually started putting the building blocks together including the location in new york. he represented the united states at the commission were great men from all over europe and canada, they used to assemble at our home at night because we had access to the commissary. an extraordinary group of people. he was in on the birth of the united nations.
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incidentally, he died 20 years later just a couple of blocks from our home in london in 1945. i was 65 and is still serving the united nations and his country. >> we want to talk about adlai stevenson and his effect on the democratic party. here he is in 1952 talking about the democratic party. >> i have been hardened by the conduct of this convention. you have argued and disagreed because as democrats to care and do care deeply. but you have disagreed and argued without calling each other liars and thieves, without spoiling our best traditions. [applause] you have not spoiled our best traditions and any struggles for power. you have written as a platform that neither contradicts nor evades. you have restated our party's
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record. its principles and its purposes and languages that none can mistake. nor am i afraid that the democratic party is old and fat. after 150 years, it has been old for a long time. it will never be indolent as long as it looks forward and not back. as long as it commands the allegiance of the young and the hopeful during the dreams and see the visions of a better america and a better world. you will see many people express concern about the continuation of one party in power for 20 years. i don't to be little this attitude. but change for the sake of change has no absolute merit in itself. the people are wise -- wiser than the republicans think. the democratic party is the people's party. not the labor party.
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not the employers party. and not the farmer's party. it is the party of no one because it is the party of everyone. [applause] >> i think adlai stevenson's contribution to the country -- he hoped campaigns would educate people and he succeeded. he succeeded in teaching all of us that politics was something all of us should be at involved in. i recently met the governor of indiana, mitch daniels. i said, i am sorry you are not running for the presidency. he said, why do you say that? i know you are a democrat. i said i learned from my boss adlai stevenson that the best people in both parties should run, not the worst people.
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i believe that. i think adlai stevenson taught that to all of us. i think that is a legacy to be extremely grateful for. his contribution is enduring today. >> i think historically he is a bridge between the new deal and the new frontier. he holds the banner of liberalism in the 1950's -- a difficult era. it is an interesting brand of liberalism. he believes in american exceptionalism every bit as many of the right do today. it was an exceptionalism that was about ideas and ideals. it was leading by example. it was not an exceptionalism enforced by military force. he brought a whole generation of young people who were inspired by his words, his example, his approach, his very
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unorthodox approach to politics. >> we only have a few minutes left. carrie joe from minnesota, we want to hear from you. >> in 1952, i was 13 years old. i was privileged to meet adlai stevenson. he came to the hotel where my mom and dad owned the hotel. i was privileged to wait tables on him. we kids grew up at the hotel. after meeting him, i admired him the rest of my life. i am now 72-years old. i am still just so admiringly this wonderful democratic person. i am so thrilled that he was a man of morality and he was a band that fought for the working people.
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we need more adlai stevensons in this world right now. i am just so happy that i met him. >> thank you for that call. let's let you talk to an adlai stevenson. senator? >> the question we are left with is, is an adlai stevenson possible today in this money drenched, corrupt, dysfunctional politics? would he even compete? could he compete for president of the united states going from stand it to stand, raising money for jingles on television, the half-hour blocks of time would be impossible. i am not sure he would be
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possible today, let alone a franklin roosevelt. it would not have been physically possible for him. that is why we have created the stevenson center to try to address these systemic weaknesses that might make an adlai stevenson possible. we try as i do in my book to recall all of these values, this history that created this country and contrast them with our politics today. can a politics as corrupt as ours be expected to purify? reform itself? i think that is the issue we are left with. i don't worry about the american people. i have enormous faith in the american people. we are left with a process that represents everybody else. >> senator stevenson, if you have to go to a store or show your name, do people react? >> some of the old folks -- i
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was in the store. i was in a store the other day and i saw a young woman looking at my credit card. she was looking at my name. i said, is that name familiar to you? she said, no, but it is cool. i think we are forgotten. i think our politics are largely forgotten as well. this has been a wonderful program to be able to recall another politics, another america. >> please go ahead with your question or comment. >> i would like to ask the group to reflect on an event late in the governor's life. i recently reviewed several hours of the events of november 22, 1963. throughout that afternoon walter cronkite continuously referred to adlai stevenson visiting dallas a few weeks earlier and being accosted and warning the president not to go
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there. i researched that and it seemed an airport event -- a woman struck governor stevenson over the head with a placard. it seemed a little bit more than that. i'm wondering if the panel can reflect on that. any regrets from the governor not stressing the -- >> you talked about this earlier. >> very briefly. he had gone to dallas for a united nation event and had been confronted by some angry people including the woman with a sign. i think he was spat upon and he was struck. he left with a vivid sense of potential dangers that the president might encounter. >> did he call the president
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and warn him, or was that just a thought? >> i don't know the answer to that. i am sorry. >> senator stevenson, you know the answer? >> my recollection is -- somebody said he was asked if he wanted this woman prosecuted. he said, no, i want her educated. my recollection is that he did not warn the white house. he deeply, deeply regretted it afterwards that he had not. i am sure had he called and described this experience it would have had no effect. he felt very guilty for not having done more or anything to try to prevent the president from going to dallas. >> we have time for one more call. i want you to think about, what have we not talked about tonight that we needed to bring out.
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think about that. we will take this call from philip in fort worth, texas. >> good evening. this is one of the great series that c-span has done. i appreciate it. i grew up in the 1960 election -- i was 12 years old. i was just becoming politically aware. i grew up during the 1950's. while i am a conservative and have always been so, i doubt mr. stevenson and i would have agreed on much, i have been exposed to his speeches, his rhetoric, and a lot of things he said. i am of the opinion that he is one of the last really great political speechmakers in our age. we were speaking a moment ago about jingles and things like that. i saw him making the speech, he was taking some of it from his notes in the pre teleprompter days. it was not coming off of the paper.
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he knew what he was saying. it was coming from his heart. i always admired his speechmaking abilities. i just don't see that in our political process today. he had something to say. he took a little time to say it at times. he was a man who knew what he wanted to say and said it well. >> he took great effort in those speeches. he worked on those speeches himself hour after hour. he was criticized by politicians for spending so much time on the speeches. in some ways, that is his legacy. as we wind up the program, i have to say one of the biggest surprises in my life is when he died so suddenly. adlai stevenson iii called me to say we were co-executors' of his will.
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did not know anything about that before he passed on. it was a very touching thing of our relationship. even though he did not win, he won the hearts of millions of americans. he won a great place in history. he raised the standards. at the end of his father's life, it has become almost a kind of folklore that ambassador stevenson was seriously considering resigning. he was encouraged to do so by his liberal friends. i wonder if he ever discussed that with his dad about his
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intent. >> i think these labels can be very misleading. he was a creature of reason. he had integrity. when we served in thiand the senate, we were not right or left. research for the country. we were products of enlightenment. ideologies did not play much of a role. to your point, he did not tell this to me, but i did hear from a very close friend that he was planning to resign from the united nations at the end of the year, largely because he was very uncomfortable advocating
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policies he did not support. by that, i mean vietnam. died in july of 1965 before he could resign, but i think he was planning to resign quietly without protest. that would not have been his way it all. it was because he could not continue to advocate policies he did not support. >> that will have to be the last word. ii is buried in illinois. we leave you with this from the 1956 convention. >> i say to trust the people, trust their good sense, decency, fortitude, faith.
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trust them with the great decisions. i say it is time to take this government away from men who only know how to count. extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. >> he lost the 1964 election to lyndon johnson, but barry goldwater's ideas in canned or galvanized the conservative movement. the five-term senator is featured this week from the goldwater institute in phoenix. that is live on friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. >> today, steny hoyer on the deficit reduction committee efforts to reduce the deficit and the 2012 presidential
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campaign. >> reading the wrong books can be educational. seeing a bad movie. it is good to see what can be done wrong to avoid defaults yourself. >> she has advice for would-be writers. she has won prizes for her writing and spent time at simon and schuster. excitinge looking for new offers to publish. there should be up for what is yet to be done. >> that is tonight on a "q&a." >> the house is in recess next week. the senate is in session. members gavel back again on monday at 2:00 p.m. for general speeches. they will work on legislation
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for withholding on protector payments. a procedural vote is gone before 5:30. next week, possible worker in 2012 federal spending and a resolution of disapproval offered by caylee hutcheson regarding the fcc neutrality regulations. you can follow the senate live on monday. alan simpson and erskine bowles talk about current efforts to reduce the national deficit. they testified before the joint committee. the congressional committee go is to find at least $1.2 trillion in savings by the rumor 23. this is about two hours.
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the manifestation of approval or disapproval is a violation of the rules of the committee. we appreciate your cooperation in maintaining order of the court. this is the fourth hearing of the joint select committee on deficit-reduction entitled "overview of previous debt proposals." i want to thank our witnesses. i want to thank them for their service to their country. they're all long time, storied public officials. senator simpson served as a senator from wyoming for 18 years. he served as chairman of the veterans committee, a member of the finance judiciary and aging committee. he is the co-chair of president
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obama's national commission. erskine bowles served as chief of staff to president clinton. he was appointed by president obama's to co-chair the national commission on fiscal responsibility and reform. senator pete domenici, the longest serving senator in new mexico history, has a storied career as chairman of the budget committee. he serves as a senior fellow at the bipartisan policy center. dr. alice rivlin is a vice chair of the federal reserve, served in the clinton and in the station, and is the founding director of the congressional budget office.
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he served with senator day medici on a bipartisan policy center's task force for debt reduction. i want to thank each of the witnesses for their work. there are many other fine organizations and think tanks that have added value to the process. this particular chose to hear from these four individuals and these two bodies. the chair will not yield to himself for an opening statement. we did the chair will now yield to himself for an opening statement. -- the chair will now deal to sell for an opening statement. i believe we will hear that we are facing a genuine crisis. we're operating on borrowed money and time. i never tire of reminding myself and the public and mcauliffes the although we have a statutory goal -- and my colleagues that
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although we have a statutory gold to reduce the deficit -- we have a statutory goal to reduce the deficit, more importantly, we have a statutory duty to legislation that would improve the nation's long-term fiscal imbalance. unless we offer fundamental reforms to our entitlement programs, we will not only fail in our duty, we may fail our nation as well. health care costs have roughly doubled since the time of my birth until when i entered the work force. they've risen about 2/3 since then. their growing at what all acknowledged to be an unsustainable rate. every agency, steady, and think tank shows medicare will go
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broke in nine to 13 years. the president has said the major driver of our long-term liabilities is medicare, medicaid, and health care spending. nothing else comes close. i continued to agree with the president. unfortunately, social security faces problems as well. my children will likely put more money into social security than they take out. at best, generational and fairness. at worst, a former a generation of theft. -- at best, generational and fair -- unfairness. at worst, a form of a generational-. spending is principally driven by health care and retirement programs. it will double in size to 40% of gdp over the course of a generation from where it was a few years ago.
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we cannot tax our way out of this crisis. we cannot solve its by tinkering around the edges of entitlement programs. for the sake of our economy, national security, and our children's future, many say it is time to "go big." i agree, but that is not measured but only slowing the great -- rate of growth of the deficit in the next 10 years. structural reforms of entitlement programs will give every american the opportunity for quality health care and retirement security at a cost that does not harm our jobs and diminish our children's future. i will now yield for an opening statement to my co-chair from washington. >> i want to thank our
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colleagues and witnesses who have come today. we really appreciate your being in front of the committee. i want to thank the members of the public joining us as well. we have been working hard over the past two months. with 23 days left until the deadline and even less time before we need to have a plan ready to be voted on, we're now entering the critical final phase of the process. the consequences of failure are unacceptable. the triggers put in place would be devastating to national defense and for middle-class families and the most vulnerable americans. market rating agencies and businesses are watching closely to see if congress to solve the problem. the american people are looking to us to break out of the gridlock that has dominated the seat recently -- d.c. recently
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to deliver the results they deserve. we need to find a way to come together around a apart is until. it is very appropriate we're having this hearing with these witnesses as we move into the final weeks -- we need to find a way to come together around a bipartisan bill. we need to come together on the proposals that tackle the difficult challenges facing our nation. the two groups went around in slightly different ways. i do not agree with each piece of each plan, but they provided models for balance proposals. these achieved bipartisan support and came together only because their balance. they included concessions from all sides. the required all americans to share in the sacrifices that this endeavor calls for.
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neither of these proposals included only spending cuts. they did not simply address entitlements or only raise revenue. they put everything on the table. they made tough decisions. because of that, they were able to put together balanced packages that garnered bipartisan support. as the committee moves into the final stretch, it will be very helpful. a bipartisan deal is not possible if members refused to come out of their corners. it is not enough for either side to say they want to reduce the deficit. now's the time when everyone needs to be putting real skinned in the game and offering serious compromises. democrats have made it clear we are prepared to do that. we're open to painful concessions and compromises if republicans are as well. we have put forward serious ideas to reflect that. these concessions will only be made and considered in the
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context of a balanced deal that does not just fall on the middle-class and most honorable americans. that requires corporations and the wealthiest to share in the sacrifices. the american people recognize that. they support a balanced approach. that is why this is the kind of deal that every bi-partisan group has made. i look forward to hearing more about it from our witnesses. it is the kind of deal that i hope every member of the committee is prepared to make. i want to thank the witnesses for being here to have this critical conversation. the plans you put forth provide a strong foundation for this committee. we look forward to hearing your testimony in having a chance to ask questions. thank you for being here today. >> thank you, senator murray. now we will hear from our panel. i have no idea why you are seated in this order. we will start with you mr. bowles.
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each witness will be recognized for five minutes. members will have 10 minutes for questions. mr. bowles, we're now prepared to receive your testimony. >> thank you. i am delighted to be in the company of these three great americans. thank you for inviting me to come. we thought long and hard about what wanted to say today. we have submitted something in writing to you. i would like to speak to you from a few notes i have made. i know most of. i have worked closely with almost all of you on both sides of the aisle. i have great respect for each of you individually, but collectively, i am worried you are going to fail the country.
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when we first got into this, we thought we were doing it for our 15 grandkids. i have nine. he has six. the closer look at to the numbers, the more we realized we were not doing it for our grandkids or our kids. we were doing it for us. that is how dire the situation is. we face the most predictable economic crisis in history. i know the fiscal path we're on is not sustainable. i know that each of you know it and see it because it is as clear as day. we travelled around the country and asked people why they
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thought we had the deficit. the tellus has to be waste, fraud, abuse. it has got to be foreign aid, oil company subsidies. all those are a small part of the problem. but the big problem comes from four sources. you know it. the first is health care. we spend twice as much as any developed country in the world on health care. unfortunately, our outcomes do not match the outlays. we ranked between 25 and 50 in things like infant mortality, life expectancy, preventable
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death. the rapid growth of health care is our biggest problem. the second biggest problem is that we spend more in this country than the 14 of the largest countries combined on defense. abnormal and recently said our biggest national citrine ullen said admiral molle our biggest national problem is the debt. it will consume everything. we have to make reasonable cuts in defense. third, i believe we have the most ineffective, inefficient
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anti-competitive tax system any man could dream up. we believe you need to broaden the base, simplify the code, eliminate or reduce the back door spending in the tax code. use the money to bring down rates and reduce the deficit. the fourth cause is interest on the debt. if there's one thing i am familiar with, it is the power of compound interest. when interest rates go back to normal, this country is going to experience the power of compound interest. this is a problem we cannot grow our way out of. we could have double-digit growth for decades and not solve the problem.
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it is not a problem we can tax our way out of. raising taxes does not do a thing to change the demographics or the fact that health care is growing at a faster rate than gdp. it is also not a problem we can solely cut our way out of. that over theven last year. our commission came up with a balanced plan with $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. we did not make that number of. $4 trillion is not the maximum amount we need to reduce the deficit. it is not the ideal amount. it is the minimum amount we need to reduce the deficit to stabilize the that -- debt.
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we based this on six basic principles. those principles are that we should not do anything to disrupt the fragile economic recovery. we made light cuts in 2012 and did not get spinning back to pre-crisis levels until 2013 -- and did not get spending back to pre-crisis levels until 2013. we did not want to do anything are the truly disadvantaged. we did not make cuts in things like food stamps, ssi, or workers compensation. we did some things to improve social security while making it sustainably solvent. we want to make sure this country is safe and secure. we have to realize our biggest national security problem is the
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deficits. we thought the president was right when he said america must invest in education, infrastructure, and high value- added research if we're going to be competitive in the knowledge- based global economy. he left out that we have to do it in a fiscally responsible manner. we live in a world of limited resources. that means choices and priorities. we believe we have to revise the tax code. we have to simplify it to broaden the base, reduce tax expenditures, and use the proceeds to reduce rates and the deficit. we have to be serious about spending cuts. we have to cut spending wherever it is, whether it is the tax
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code, the defense budget, discretionary budget, or the entitlement budget. i believe if you go big and bold and do it in the smarm manner, the the american people will support you in these decisions. of thepe for the sake country that you do. thank you very much. >> senator simpson, you are now recognized. >> is a pleasure to be here. and the panel and also many of you. i have been around -- i look at the panel and also known many of you. i have been around for awhile. we do not need charts when we go
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out. we just say if you spend more than you earn, you lose your buck. if you spend a dollar and borrow 42 cents, you have to be stupid. today, your country is borrowing $4 billion and will borrow that tomorrow and the next day and the next if that has, as is to the american people, it has escaped us. my dad was a governor and u.s. senator. i know the game of inside baseball. as we wandered through this place a year ago, people said to say the from ourselves. that is not very smart thing to say in the duties you have to perform. -- people said to save us from ourselves. this the toughest thing you have ever been in with your drinking
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have the deepest admiration and respect. you all know what you have to do. this is the toughest thing you have ever been in and what you are doing. you have the deepest admiration and respect for me. dick durbin and tom coburn had a lot to lose. the step right up to the plate and did it. they voted for our report. i used to take these people on when i was in the congress. i did not do this suddenly. i am the only hearing -- living person to have a hearing on a rp. -- i am the only living person to have a hearing on aarp. i have dealt with professional
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veterans, extremists of senior citizens, i have dealt with emotion, and guilt, fear, racism. i have done it all. i have never lost an election. i took on the professional veterans. i never heard anything out of lloyd bentsen and others when we did veteran's death. it was always from someone who had never been in the military. in immigration, i was called a bigot and a racist. that bill brought 3 million people out of the dark. i was proud of it. it never got far because the right and left said it was a national i.d. card. people admired debts and courage. -- people admire guts and
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courage. they may vilify you, but they will admire you. i have been the toast of the town and at the bottom of the list. it is a funny place. you can be on the cover of "time" one month and be doing it six months later. [laughter] grover norquist has people in thrall. that means your mind has been captured. you are in bondage with your soul. he said his hero was ronald reagan. i said that he raised taxes 11 times in a years. he said he did not like that. i said why do you think he did it? i said he probably did it to make the country run. let's just look at the aarp. that ad is teh most disgusting ad i have ever seen.
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i do not know what those people got paid. they say they are 50 million watching and they vote. that is an ugly thing. wouldremember what aarp do. let me tell you what will happen with their view of the world which would be to do nothing to restore the solvency of social security. in 2026, you get a check for 23% less. then i hope that they will remember the aarp. i certainly will and a lot of the young people will. it is a tough job. you are going to have to do it. people are going to put a lot of
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heat on you. the market will call the shots. interest rates will go up. inflation will go up with the failure. the little guy will get hurt. that will be in politics, there are no right answers. only continual slow compromises among groups. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator. >> i am going to defer to my colleague. >> absolutely, you are recognized. >> can you pull the microphone a little closer to you?
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. we have our discussion with the plant in that order and we thank you very much. let me say to the two cochairs and the members of the committee, at thank you for the opposition today to discuss with you today both economic and fiscal challenges our nation faces and dark comprehensive plan to stabilize the national debt. more than 18 months ago, we decided that we should continue or a decades-long work for a rational federal fiscal policy. our only stipulation was that everything is on the table. she and i agree. we then invited 17 other members to join us in what became the bipartisan policy centers debt reduction task force. i think the history of the men
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and women who work on this is very important, to show you what kind of americans we have got there, who are worried about the future and will step up to the table and do what is necessary. and condition of their membership, they, too, would agree that everything was on the table. our task force ranged from the mayor of new orleans to former oklahoma governor. imagine the difference in the to if they agreed -- they agreed that we are in trouble. we have liberals, conservatives, think tank and budget policy makers, a former members of presidential cabinets, people with business and labor experience. our task force was as diverse a group as you could get to address the looming crisis for our nation. last november, we issued a report.
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our recommendations were unanimous. they were controversial, as they should be, because they were also serious. each of us might have preferred a different mix of solutions, but each compromised to find a set of policies that we could all support. since then, we have seen unemployment continued to exceed 9%, our economy continued to stagnate. we have endured a damaging fight over the debt ceiling increase. we have seen another series of the melodramas on annual appropriations and another year of deficits exceeding $1 trillion. with spending projected to grow faster, we'll be forced to borrow more and more every year if we do not change our policies. this fiscal projection is clearly unsustainable. everybody has to learn that word because that is the best word to
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explain where we are. we are an america with an unsustainable economic policy. it will ruin us sooner or later. this on sustainable nature has been so tested -- attested to by the former chairman, head of the international monetary commission and all fiscal ask -- experts have used that word. you are they're trying to fix the unsustainable and make it sustainable. it will take three things to write our fiscal house. renew economic growth, cutting spending, especially entitlements, and pro-growth fundamental tax reform.
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we redid their recommended a fair and simpler tax system. we have won similar to it, but if you look carefully, it better solve the problem that we have today. let me be blunt. a plan that does not fundamentally restructure medicare and other health entitlement will fail to adequately addressed the debt crisis that we face. both sides, those who are against any fundamental entitlement reform and those who oppose any revenue increases
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will be equally complicitous in bringing the nation closer to fiscal brink. i hope you heard that. i said it added is not like me. i do not easily say that about things, but i did say, if we did not do this, those who are for fixing health care and those who are for tax increases -- letting this great democracy destroyed itself because we do not want to make tough decisions. the largest driver of our deficits, social security finances, or unstable. we must soon take action to prevent some -- to keep the system on solid ground for generations to come. that is not so difficult. the citizens will understand that. what will happen if we continue
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to try to wriggle around these facts, and the debt ceiling increase, it will cause of short-term disturbances and the markets. i had hopes that the fiscal reality would push the president and congress to real fundamental action. because of the turmoil in north africa and the european debt problems, investors rushed into quality, seen as the american sovereign debt. instead of seeing higher interest rates for american debt, we have seen much lower interest rates. instead of the stock market collapse, the dow jones has been rising and -- in the upside on the last month. that is not normal for the situation we are and. for those of us to predict serious calamitous consequences for our fiscal policies, are we wrong? i think not.
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right now, to borrow a phrase, american and dutch is the best house in a truly -- american and dad is the best housed in a truly -- debt is the best house in a truly terrible neighborhood. it will not always be so. the neighbors might fix their houses or the whole neighborhood might burn. either way, we will pay for our neglect with slower future growth. future growth and less prosperous country are less able to play a leading role in the world is what we will present to the world if we do not fix this problem. the joint select committee does not have the time to truly to
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comprehensive reform. i believe it can create time. . fast-track mechanism using section 404. we expand upon in the document in your folder. it will give you answers to almost every problem that you have before you. i am told that the wise exchange of short-term political pain for long-term fiscal gained will not happen. i hope that is not true. without substantial new revenues, and structural entitlement reform, are fiscal ship is destined to capsize. i am told that we need to put these kinds of tax and entitlement changes off until 2013. 2011 is a non election year. although i am not making a
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prediction, we might not get to the next one on skates. i am saying we might have the calamity -- on skates. i'm saying we might have the calamity beforehand. i do not know whether or not they will use the power. i have left one remark that was very important. i left out and that want to find it. so we can be short you understand -- be sure you understand. the suit said it will not support tax revenues, as -- those who say they will not support tax revenues, as we have the entitlement, that is a good position if you are saying, i will do it if we did both. both are complicitous if they failed to act because each blames the other. they will both be complicitous if they do not bouse cooperate
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and participate in this deficit reduction. both will have caused america to suffer but we have described here today. i thank you very much. >> thank you. now we will turn to -- >> thank you. i share the senator's views. this committee can change the course of economic history for the better. the united states faces to huge challenges at once. there is no choice between jobs and fiscal responsibility. both are essential and they reinforce each other. this committee, with this
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extraordinary power, has the opportunity on the obligation to address both challenges. to achieve success, the committee will have to go well beyond the minimum charge of $1.20 trillion in savings over the next 10 years. even savings of this magnitude would leave the debt rising faster than the economy can grow. we believe you should craft a grand bargain involving structural entitlement and tax reform that would save at least $4 trillion over 10 years. to do so, the committee should take full advantage of the authority given to you and section 404 percent right instructions to authorize the committee to produce tax an entitlement reforms to be considered on a fast track. a grand bargain would reduce the chances of a devastating double- dip recession that could lead to a stagnant lost decade.
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it would reassure citizens and the market that our political practice is functioning in the public interest, not stuck in partisan gridlock or overwhelmed by special interests. i was privileged to serve on both commissions. both groups worked hard to find a combination of policy changes that will enhance growth and put the budget on a sustainable path. the arithmetic of the problem drove them to a similar proposals. both concluded that two major course changes were essential. structural reform and health programs and comprehensive reform of the individual and corporate income taxes that would raise more revenue from a more pro-growth tax system. both also advocated freezes and domestic and defense
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discretionary spending to encourage weeding out low priority activity in favor of more important ones. the budget control act capped discretionary spending. we believe that further reduction in discretionary spending would risk harming essential government functions for the same reason, we are due to avoid the sequester. this committee should focus on reducing health care spending and reforming the tax code. our report offers solid bipartisan proposals to do this. our proposal for medicare reform, which we -- would preserve traditional medicare for all seniors who prefer a fee for service system. it would also offer an array of comprehensive health plans competing with traditional medicare to deliver the same benefits. plans could not refuse any medicare beneficiaries and would be compensated on risk adjusted basis.
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the federal contribution would be determined by competitive bidding on a regional exchange. we believe the competition on a well regulated exchange would lead providers and plans to deliver care more cost-effective lead and reduced spending growth. as a -- the federal contribution would be capped at gdp growth, + one%. excess cost would result in an increased premium. this bipartisan proposal would preserve medicare for our rapidly rising population of seniors. on tax reform, while growth and spending must be controlled, we do not believe the projected tsunami of retirees can be absorbed by federal programs without increasing revenues. stabilizing the dutch by spending cuts alone would cripple essential -- stabilizing
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the debt by spending cuts alone would cripple essential response to human needs. our current tax code is riddled with exclusions, exemptions, deductions, and other special provisions that distorts economic activity, narrow the tax base so much that rates are high. our proposed tax code would have only to individual braids. 15 and 28%. most special treatment of in, spending would be eliminated or phased out. capital gains, dividends, and so-called carried interest would be taxed at ordinary rates. credits would be allowed four earned and come, children, charitable deductions, a charitable contributions, mortgage interest and retirement contributions. the exclusion of employer paid health care from taxable income would be phased out, which rearguard as both a tax and
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health care reform. rich -- which we regard as both the tax and health care reform. it would raise more revenue than current policy, but less than current law. it would do it in a more progressive fashion. we fully appreciate the difficulty of the choices facing this committee. we hope you have the courage to restore fiscal responsibility and avoid the truly dire consequences of partisan gridlock. thank you very much. >> thank you for the entire panel. for 10air will yield minutes. i believe one of the things i have heard from all the panelists, and diet for the revenue message and we will go back to that, -- and i have heard the brevity message and we will go back fact, the number one challenge that we have in
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respect to our debt is held care. is that correct? i heard you say something similar. is there a consensus among the panel that the number one challenge is health care? no one is diverting from that? dr. i have a question for you. >> i just wanted to ask if they would put up the chart. you cannot miss it. >> if you have a number for me, i would be glad to have the staff put it up. >> wake up, folks, it is health care. >> that is one of them.
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>> that is said. >> these various governmental functions burris is gdp, look which one, that -- obverses gdp, look which one, look at that blueline. look at what is happening to health care. if we do not produce a plan that would permit cbo to save a line has been bent, if that is not in the plan, you have nine to caused -- you have not caused any major way the reform of health care. if that line keeps going that way, you have solved nothing. >> you are not speaking of slowly -- slowing the rate of growth. you are talking about a plan that bans the cost curve. >> yes. >> i was somewhat familiar with
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your plan with house budget committee chairman paul ryan. you now have a defined a support system. as i was listening to your testimony, it includes an aspect of maintaining some facet of the current fee-for-service aspect of medicare. how does it differ from your earlier plan? >> it preserves traditional
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medicare for anyone who wants it. that is important. it is important to seniors and it is important to have -- you should forgive the expression, a public option. in addition to traditional medicare, except up medicare exchanges where seniors would choose among an array it of plans that provided at least the same benefits as medicare impact -- as medicare and tragic -- competed with each other and traditional medicare to produce the most cost-effective way. we believe that would control the cost. the cost would go up much less rapidly. that would be part of bending the curve fo.
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we have a fail-safe mechanism in there. if the competition does not result and bending the curve enough, we would say, to find support, the federal contribution would not go up faster than the gdp growth plus one%. if it did, there would be additional premiums for those choosing the more expensive plan. those premiums would not apply it to low-income people. that is the plan in a nutshell. >> question -- it was both an honor and privilege to serve in your commission. i think you have contributed mightily to the nation's consciousness and i hope that whatever success this joint
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select committee achieved, part of it will be on your shoulders and your previous good work. let me ask this question. there was much great work that was done on the commission. one of my personal reservations was that the commission did not adopt the right and premium support plan. i thought the work in social security -- i want to go back on what you do on the 75-year solvency. on medicare, which is a larger, long-term challenge, we applied much smaller short-term reforms. you did put the one% + gdp cap on total health care spending with a trigger of the expedited procedures.
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it was not a hard trigger. the defineieve in i support system policy that was just articulated? we adopt, why didn't something like that? i assume you did not agree with the policy or maybe you did not have the votes. maybe there is a third option. >> probably both. what we tried to do was to look at it on a realistic basis. if you look at the cost of medicare and medicaid alone today, it is about 6% of gdp. it is growing like a weed. that excludes what it takes to do the $267 billion.
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it is our biggest challenge, from a fiscal viewpoint. as we looked at the affordable health care act, which was recently passed, it was the contention of the democrats on the commission that the cuts that were made to medicare and the affordable health care act to, along with the pilot programs that were sent up, would reduce the rate of growth of health care to gdp plus one. >> most of those cuts on the provider side -- >> that is correct. we did not think that what happened. we did not think those cuts were enough. we did about $500 billion of additional cuts over and above that with the hope that those
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cuts would slow the rate of growth of health care to gdp plus one. assuming that did not happen, you know, to us, there was no choice but to get the rate of growth to health care to that level. there were certain options that would have to be considered at that point in time. those options include a premium support plan, a robust public option. >> i see my time is about to run out here. when they quickly cover to other subjects. with respect to -- let me quickly cover two other subjects. as part of that marginal rate -- is that correct? the witnesses are saying yes. i have less than a minute remaining. i was looking for elements of your plans.
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one is global change c.p.i., in the short time that we have left, maybe i could get a 32nd cancer -- a 30-seoncond answwer. >> is a technical change that economists have decided was a better way, and more accurate way of measuring the cost of living for this purpose. it would affect all government programs, including the tax code. >> the cover would still be there, it will rise at a different rate. >> absolutely. it is is a technical change on how you calculate. the index that is used for other programs including the tax code
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which index is the brackets. >> i and tactically out of time, but could i get a quick answer? -- i am technically at a time, but i -- but could i get a quick answer? >> that highs -- that is experimental. this one looks like -- if we could do it government-wide, it saves billions. >> thank you very much. thank you to all of you for your wise counsel on a very serious challenge. let me start -- it seems both of your prospective proposals would achieve deficit reduction of its least $4 trillion of a the next 10 years to the use of a balanced approach framework that includes reductions in spending and increases in revenue. let me ask all of you, maybe by a show of hands, do all of you believe that to get a balanced
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program that addresses the fiscal crisis, do we need both spending cuts and revenue increases? ok. let me start then. tell us why a balanced approach that includes both reductions in spending and increases in revenue was proposed by your committee. >> we know you cannot cut spending your way out of it and you cannot tax your way at of it. we tire of the phrase tax increase and we are digging around 1/8 $1 trillion -- around in a $1 trillion stack of tax expenditures.
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we said, let's take those and when you take one of those out, to call that a tax increase is an exactitude. it would be called a lie, in other words. this is a fake to say you get rid of a tax expenditure and it is a tax increase. we said, we are not going to end -- get into that business of tax increase. we're just going to go around grover and let it grow for rep. i will tell you one thing, -- and let it grow for plant. -- grover rant. >> the work on attacking expenditures and the tax code -- we were attacking
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expenditures in that the tax code. there is another reason, however, why you need a balanced approach. that is the demographics. this government is going to have to absorb a doubling of the number of people over 65 in the next couple of decades. that is an awful lot of people. that is not changing the role of government. that is absorbing a lot more people, which we cannot do almost we have some more revenue. we must bend to the curve on health care. we must fix social security. we cannot do it in such a drastic way that we can absorb all those people without more revenue. >> ok -- >> i think you all know me and
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have known me for a long time. i did not come on this committee trying to get anything -- i did not have any preconceived percentages. i said, let's start over. the trick of the matter is, even when you fix medicare in a reasonable way, the deficit is still too big unless you decide to fill that gap with something. you do not have a viable budget versus the economy situation. you have to look to the only thing that is left because you have done the others. >> i very much appreciate that response. in the guiding principles and values that were established by your commission, you state that growth is essential to restoring fiscal strength and balance and deficit reduction. let's not disrupt the fragile
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economic recovery. cbo and many economists agree that the recovery projected for the remainder of this year and 2012 was considerably stronger than when you're commission put out its recommendation. i want to ask you if you believe that the commission was successful in here -- at a hearing to those economic principles and given the weaker projections for today, whether we should be doing more for economic growth and reducing unemployment. >> first of all, art commission, it was the number one founding principle -- our commission, we did not want to do anything that was considered to be overtly stupid. we thought it would be overtly stupid to do anything to disrupt what is clearly a very fragile economy.
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if you look at the cuts that we made in 2011 and 2012, you will see that those cuts were quite small. however, we thought it was very important for us to get spending down. we did make significant cuts in spending in 2013. those spending cuts do give us back to 2008 levels. when we came forward with that provision, a lot of people fought to we were being -- thought we were being too conservative. they said the recovery is real, that if you look at things like back in december, there was an increase in factory production, existing home sales were going up, retail sales were going up. a look like banks for starting to lend to small businesses. unemployment was starting to
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come down. investors sentiment was strong and people said the recovery is real. we, on the other hand, felt that while the recovery may be real, it was very fragile. the reason we thought it was too fragile, we were very concerned about demand. demand comes from three basic sources. the consumer is tal two-thirds of gdp. in our case -- the consumer is two-thirds of gdp. household debt was about 20% of household income. it was about $13 trillion. over half of it was at floating rates. the rise ink that t food prices and gas prices took a bite out of consumer demand,
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wait until interest rates go up. the second leg of growth would come from business. small businesses cannot create jobs without capital and banks for not lending to small businesses. we did not see that the small business community would be able to lead us out of recovery. their capital was on strike because we did not have confidence in the direction the country was going and we did not know which direction the country was going. it is hard to see business leader said of the recovery with the construction industry is on its backside. the third level of economic growth would come from governments. we did not receive an additional stimulus package coming out of washington to lead
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growth to the economy. if you look at what state and local governments were doing, they were cutting spending and laying people off trying to balance their budget. we did not see where the growth would come to drive the economic recovery. i believe we are in a structural contraction. it will lead to a prolonged period of relatively slow growth and relatively high unemployment. >> your plan also addressed the concern of exonerating the recovery and phasing in some type of deficit reduction. you were worried about the demand. can you talk to us about what you did in your proposal? >> we were very worried about inadequate demand. we called for a 01-year employer and employee tax holiday. it was needed to stimulate
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demand upfront before we could safely phase in to the deficit reduction that we were calling for. that was at a time when the economy was somewhat stronger. we put that can as a kind of symbol of how concerned we were. a payroll tax holiday for employer and employee is $650 billion. that is a lot. you could do it different ways, but we put it into symbolized the fact that we were worried about inadequate demand. >> frankly, i was very surprised and looking at the group of people that were on
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this debt reduction group. when it came to this issue, they were as worried as any issue i had seen. we do not know what will make the economy recover. it is a lot of money. some of us said that it was a much better thing to have done two years ago. we said, led suggested. -- we said let's suggest it. >> t war -- thank you for the thousands of hours you have put a dent on these subjects.
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-- put in on these subjects. this is a serious subject but a little levity can help. you talked about eliminating tax expenditures. i want to comment on taxes and talk about entitlement reform. if you eliminated the so-called tax expenditures, the biggest four are deductions for medical expenses, a charitable contributions, mortgage interest payments, and payments of state and local taxes. you do not reduce tax rates commensurately. >> in getting rid of the $1 trillion in suggested that the $100 billion would go toward production of the dead. the rest of it would come out and we would -- production of
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the debts. the rest of it would come out and give the people what they are asking for. he takes the corporate rate to 26%. if you want to put something back, go ahead. if you want it, pay for it. then you could go to rates of 12 and 18 forever -- or whatever you want to do. if you wanted to a charitable contribution, give them 12.5% in a non refundable tax credit. at some point, you just say, look, you were told to bring home the bacon. the lobbyists got you what you wanted. now the fun and games are over. >> the $1.10 trillion, one
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trillion of that would go for a rate reduction. >> that is correct. it is good to see you. if you want to put something back, and they are wonderful things -- >> let me just make one observation. both the fiscal commission and the bipartisan policy study has suggested that one of the options is to tax capital gains and interest rates of ordinary tax rates. my own observation is that you could do great harm by effectively doubling the capital gains and dividends taxes. those represent areas of capital
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formation and investment in our economy. the government receives capital gains revenues when taxpayers sell appreciated assets. congress tried taxing capital gains at the same right of ordinary income. this was back in 1986. the resulting capital gains revenues were dismal. they shrug and remain depressed for a decade until congress -- they shrunk and remain depressed for a decade. a higher cost of capital. less activity in the capital markets. less economic growth. the health care bill that was passed last year, it already increases capital gains by another 3.8%. that means the very lowest capital gains rate would be 26.8%. the highest would be 32.8%.
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even the joint committee on taxation said that a rate that high will louis, not -- will lose, not gain revenue. other economists said letting the top capital gains rate build up to 20% will raise the theoretical revenue gain. -- will erase the theoretical revenue gain. wages will be even lower. i would just ask you all, as we continue to visit about these things, to think about it. your views are important to the committee. and this one respect, it could be very counterproductive. it would make our deficit problem worse. let me turn it to entitlements. you said something very important in response to the
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representatives questions. i want to make sure i have this right. first of all, it would be useful for you to explain the benefits of a defined supports or a premium support such as you recommend. correct me if i am wrong. i understood you to describe the plan laid out in your submitted testimony. it is a little different than the original. there are two attributes. you would actually -- you actually set the federal contribution level first by the second lowest bid. have the feel safe -- feels safe -- failsafe with a premium support. if that is not accurate, tell me how i am wrong. >> senator, you have it exactly
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right. we have improved this plan, i think, over our original one. it is now more like the bipartisan plan in the thomas proposal of the late 1990's. one of the complaints that we got about the way we did it originally was that it did not reflect the actual cost of healthcare. when you do it by a bidding process, it does reflect. >> talk about how you select the second lowest bid. >> that is arguable. there are different ways of doing it. the second lowest bid gave -- it was not the lowest, which might well be -- people who wanted to
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go to the even lower bids could do so. they could get their money back. >> they would pocket the difference. >> right. >> a wanted it to be no dollar out of pocket, they would take the second lowest bid. anybody could offer plant at that level. if somebody offered a plan that was more expensive, they could pay for it, the federal premium support would only be at the second lowest bid. >> that is right. it gives you a way of making the competition real. we believe that would bring the cost down. >> i agree with that. let me go back to my first question. discuss the benefits of that premium support concept in general. i do not think it is well understood. that is not all that you would
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recommend. you also recommends additional changes to the existing system that we have in order to reduce expenditures, things like combining parts gay and partt a. can you explain of those things are useful to do? >> the pilot programs and attempts to find better ways of delivering care and government support for innovations and testing those things and putting them out and the public domain,
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that is all a very good thing to do. we think it will pay off in the end. it is not incompatible with our define support plan. once you have those innovations out there in the public domain, the private sector will pick them up, medicare will use them, things will get better. >> might i just follow up? on this one you are speaking out on medicare, the first thing we did was to note that the objection to a new system. it was right upfront that you are abolishing medicare. this new plan starts with the premise with both programs and you can choose. that put us on a completely different path with our members. it is very different than
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anything you all in the house have considered t. >> an important observation, thank you. >> we did try to address this issue. our belief was the current benefit structure encourages overuse and there are currently a hodgepodge of different copays and deductibles and premiums. we wanted more cost sharing and our plan. we wanted people to have some skin in the game. we went to one deductible on part a and b. we had a 20% payment of two $5,500. -- up to $5500.
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>> all of those are very useful suggestions. thank you. >> the cochair now recognizes the gentleman from california. >> thank you very much for your service to this country and for the working of done to give us some templates that we can use to try to resolve this issue. i enjoy hearing from the four of you because you have shown that you can be big and bold and balanced and still try to move the country forward. i thank you for that. i thank you so much for attacking those sacred cows that too often gets and the way of congress being able to do the things that are most important. i thought you put all the
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elements in place. i would have put the mixture of developments differently, but i compliment you today. i applaud you for what you did. the templates of what could be a solution for the country -- i think i heard you will say this. while we are still suffering from these difficult economic times. back when we were going through this with the commission -- and i know you were also going through this as well. times were tough. they're still tough. i suspect all of us thought that the country and the economy would be doing far better. is it still your premise that we should concentrate on getting the economy back on track? getting americans back to work before we go too heavily into trying to find the savings by making cuts in to some of these important investments. i will open it up to anybody who answers.
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>> it is a timing question. we believe that drastic cuts in spending right now would be damaging to the economy, as with tax increases right now. we need to let the recovery happened. and simulated with proposals that we have been talking about. that does not mean putting off the deficit reduction. one of the best things we could do for the growth of the economy right now is before this committee to legislate long run production in the deficit on the entitlement and tax side right now. we cannot wait until after 2013 or some other time to do that. the markets and the public have got to see that is going to happen.
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that we are serious. that is in lot and it does not have to take effect in to -- but right away, but it has to be in the law. >> you have time for it to take affect long-term as the city economy began to recover. -- as you see the economy began to recover. you tackle the issue of revenues. you did it in a different way, but for the most part, you did something but i thought was very important. you tried to also show the public that while we would increase real revenues, we would ultimately try to reduce the rates and gives people a fair taxation system. while we were still able to generate revenue, you were able to also tell the public that they will have a system that works better for them. they could understand the simplicity and the fairness of
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it. in both plans, i believe you equalized the taxation for capital gains and dividends to ordinary income. in layman's terms, an investment in stocks or bonds would now be taxed at the same rate that the income earned by hard working americans would be taxed at. they would be treated equally. you also found ways to reduce the rates overall for all income groups. you went after tax earmarks. they totaled over $1 trillion. you came up with a mix. he tackled some sacred cows and you came up with a mix. is it still your sense that that type of a mix can work for this committee?
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i open it up to anyone. >> absolutely. i would say to my friend, senator carl, when he talks about -- senator kyle, when he talks about capital gains. in this case, that is what happened. we lowered the rates. i heard from the best experts when i was sharing, the best way to affect growth in this country is to lower their rates on all people. that was the best instrument of growth. they did not say except for capital gains. they said it is the best instrument for growth. we lowered it substantially. we put back into the code the instruments of growth. there is a little stronger in terms of -- they have come down
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lower so you can put back some things. we also included the medical expenses, the largest tax expenditure. it is bigger than homeowner interest rates. we face that out over a longer term. that is a very difficult one, but we did it in hours. that is the reason we got the rates that we got. >> you called it back door spending to the taxpayer. >> it is just spending by another name. i was flabbergasted, i was appalled to see that having listened to all the talk about your marks all these years, there are up -- about earmarks all these years. there are $1.10 trillion worth
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of annual earmarks in the tax code. it is just spending by another name. it is somebody social policy. if you were to eliminate them and use 92% of the proceeds to reduce rates, and only 8% of the proceeds to reduce the deficit, you could reduce the deficit by $100 billion a year. you could take a rates to 8% of to $70,000. have a maximum rate of 23%. you could take the corporate rate to 26% and you could pay for a territorial system so that $1 trillion is captured overseas could be brought back into this country. i believe that would create dynamic growth in this country and produce revenues far beyond what we have forecasted.
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i am a very excited about broadening the base and simplifying the code. i think it makes a lot of difference. >> i want to focus on a couple of areas of spending. when we talk about spending, you guys are willing to tackle the issue of the discretionary side of the budget. most people do not recognize that 65% of all the spending increases that occurred over the 10 years came out of just one department, the department of defense. mostly because of the war. because of the growth in some of our military projects and contracts and so forth, i know that you tried to tackle that. i appreciate the work that you did there. i would like to touch on health care. the naples one question. -- let me pose one question. we could do a number of things to reduce the cost of medicare or medicaid. at the end of the
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